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The Pursuit of Inclusive Development in China: From Developmental to Rights-Based Social Protection
Li Xiaoyun and Dan Banik
The Chinese Government has prioritized public policies aimed at promoting inclusive development, social equality and a ‘harmonious society’ while maintaining high rates of economic growth. Such policies are, however, facing growing challenges with rising income inequality and new forms of ‘transitional poverty’ resulting from recent economic and social transformations taking place within the country. China’s strategies of promoting growth and poverty reduction are further complicated by environmental concerns, rising urban-rural disparities, changing demographic dynamics and new patterns of labour migration within the country. The key question addressed in this article is: How will the dual existence of extreme poverty in rural areas and transitional poverty in an urban–rural interface shape China’s welfare strategy in the near future, as the country pursues a strategy of inclusive development? The article begins with a brief examination of China’s achievements and challenges in relation to poverty and inequality reduction. Thereafter, the impacts of some of the most important social protection programmes currently being implemented in the rural areas of the country are critically examined before specifi cally highlighting the problems faced by migrant workers, the so-called ‘left-behind’ population, and landless farmers.

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